UPDATE 1-Star Bulk in contract with Hanjin for capesize vessel

Thu Mar 25, 2010 9:02am EDT

* Co says vessel to cost $53.5 mln

* Says delivery expected in September 2011

* Says signs 10-yr charter contract for ship

March 25 (Reuters) - Dry bulk carrier Star Bulk Carriers Corp (SBLK.O) said it entered into a contract with shipbuilder Hanjin Heavy Industries & Construction Co Ltd (097230.KS) for a capesize vessel for $53.5 million.

Star Bulk said it had received offers for debt financing of up to 70 percent of the ship's price at favorable terms. Delivery of the 180,000 deadweight tons (dwt) ship is expected in September 2011, it added.

The company also said it had not yet decided the ratio of company cash to senior debt that it will utilize in the deal.

Star Bulk said it entered into a 10-year agreement for the vessel with STX Panocean at a gross average day rate of $24,750.

"Currently, our fleet is contracted for 92 percent of 2010 and 58 percent of 2011 operating days, providing future earnings visibility," Chief Executive Akis Tsirigakis said in a statement.

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Shares of the company rose 4 percent to $2.94 before the bell Thursday. They closed at $2.83 Wednesday on Nasdaq. (Reporting by Vinay Sarawagi in Bangalore; Editing by Maju Samuel)